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Peyton Manning, Richard Sherman, Trent Dilfer, & more: NFL Unfiltered Conference Championship Edition

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Super Bowl XLVIII is set and it pits the Seattle Seahawks versus the Denver Broncos.  

One team features a living legend and media darling in quarterback Peyton Manning, while the other showcases the little engine that could- quarterback Russell Wilson.

More importantly, it is another contrast in styles since Manning is a prototypical pocket-passer, while Wilson is one of the NFL’s uber-athletic quarterbacks.  Photo: sportsonearth.com

Care to guess which game narrative the national media prefers?  

If you close your eyes, you can almost hear the keystrokes as they eulogize Manning’s career. In fact, some are probably already written minus the details of the real contest.  

Last year, quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick proved there is room for both styles in the biggest games, but analysts like ESPN’s Trent Dilfer insist “frenetic offense” causes turnovers.  Never mind the fact Kaepernick’s two fourth quarter interceptions against the Seahawks where not due to running around.  He merely made poor decisions, like every quarterback.  

Perhaps it is the nature of sports, or maybe it is simply human nature.  But we often tear someone down to prop up someone else?  Isn’t there room for both quarterback types in today’s NFL?  

Dilfer and his minions believe it is harder to win with Wilson, Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III, and he is correct.  But it is not because of their style of play.    

The real reason it is hard to win with young quarterbacks is maturity.  It simply takes time to trust their coaches, the play call, their eyes, their teammates and themselves.  It is only natural for them to rely on their athletic gifts because it’s gotten them to the NFL.  

When you usually take whatever you want on a football field, you have to learn to take what a defense gives you.  And that is the case for almost every talented quarterback in the history of the game.  

Remember the role New England’s Tom Brady once played?  We are so focused on what happened 30 seconds ago, we ignore the fact Brady received a requisite amount of time to develop while he managed games.  

Maybe it just isn’t entertaining to say it took Brady about 60 starts to become what he is today.  Maybe Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s performance is irrelevant because his team is currently irrelevant.  But it seems he gets the benefit of the doubt.  

Maybe Dilfer’s issues with Kaepernick are personal.  Or, maybe he is driven by some other agenda.  Either way, every young quarterback with obvious potential deserves a grace period.  No matter their style of play.  

Dilfer ought to know better and say so. 

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Championship game edition 

-Both Matthew Stafford and Kaepernick need to develop better mechanics. But after 36 interceptions and an 11-21 record the last two seasons, Stafford is still lauded for being a gunslinger. However, only Kaepernick is criticized because of his poor decisions.  Spread it around @TDESPN.  

-A pivotal play in the NFC title game received very little attention.  On 3rd and 22, early fourth quarter, the 49ers allowed tight end Zach Miller an easy 15-yard gain. That gain convinced head coach Pete Carroll to go for it on 4th down.  Seconds later, the 49ers faced their first deficit.  Carroll completely outmaneuvered 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.   

-Harbaugh is a terrific coach, probably top three or fourth in the league. Still, is it too soon to suggest he struggles in tight spots?  This is the third consecutive season his offense failed to come up with an answer in crucial situations.

-Tom Brady played and sounded like a man who is ready for the next chapter of his life.  

-We may never know what Brady’s relationship with head coach Bill Belichick is really like, but he has every right to tell him he is retiring if the Patriots don’t improve on receivers like Danny Amendola and Kenbrell Thompkins.

-If Peyton Manning knows the answers to the test and the defenders are average, a 400-yard game is a virtual certainty.  However, in the Seahawks, he faces the best group of defenders since before his first neck surgery.    

-In keeping with the spirit of answers to an exam, it is fair to say Brady and videotape were the keys to Belichick’s success?  It is up to you to decide which one had the greatest impact.  

-Loved the freshness of Richard Sherman’s postgame diatribe regarding 49ers’ wide receiver Michael Crabtree except for two things.  First, it wasn’t exactly accurate since everyone knows Crabtree is better than “mediocre” and “sorry.”  That makes it personal.  Secondly, it is ALWAYS a bad look when one black man publicly disrespects another.  And every self-respecting black person—including Sherman—knows it.  

-Sherman seems like an interesting, thoughtful young man, but he is NOT Muhammad Ali.  The Greatest always told us what he thought before and his bouts. Sherman played it safe by waiting for the outcome. That is not the same thing. 



 Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@hotmail.com

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Photo: sportsonearth.com